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Israeli forces detain 5 Gaza fishermen after opening fire on them

Jan. 16, 2017 11:02 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 16, 2017 3:44 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- Israeli naval forces detained five Palestinian fishermen and seized their fishing boats on Monday morning after opening fire on them off the coast of the northern besieged Gaza Strip, according to local officials.

Spokesperson for the union of Gaza fishermen Nizar Ayyash identified two fishermen detained of the coast of al-Sudaniya as Auranus al-Sultan and Muhammad al-Sultan, and reported no injuries in the incident.

Meanwhile, Zakariya Bakr, the spokesman for the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, told Ma'an that Israeli naval forces opened fire at fishermen off the coast of al-Waha in northern Gaza and detained three, identified as Muhammad Abu Dayya, Imad Siyam, and his son Anas Imad Siyam.

Bakr added that the three fishermen’s boats were also confiscated.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an they were looking reports.

The incidents came after Israel army tanks shelled alleged Hamas posts in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, after unidentified forces from the besieged coastal enclave fired at an Israeli army vehicle, according to the Israeli army, with no injuries reported on either side.

While armed groups inside the Gaza Strip occasionally fire rockets inside Israel, Israeli army incursions inside the Palestinian territory have long been a near-daily occurrence, as the Israeli army regularly opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen and farmers along the border areas, despite a ceasefire agreement that ended the 2014 war.

There have also been intermittent reports of Israeli forces attempting to sink the boats of fishermen as they approach Israel’s unilaterally declared “buffer zone,” which lies on both the land and sea sides of Gaza.

Gazan fishermen, whose numbers are estimated to be around 4,000, have suffered from the near decade-long siege of the Gaza Strip, which limits their incursions to just six nautical miles into the sea in accordance with the ceasefire agreement signed with Palestinian factions in 2014.

Earlier this month, a Palestinian fisherman went missing after an encounter with Israeli forces off the coast of Gaza, with his family announcing his death days later despite his body having yet to be recovered.
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